Cape Town (26 January, 2017): China’s preparation for the FIH Women Hockey World League Semi-finals is taking great shape in the annual Cape Town Summer Series currently taking place at Hartleyvale Stadium in Observatory, Cape Town from 20th January to 3rd February 2017.
The Chinese, placed No 8 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, defeated host South Africa (WR: 13) 3-2 in their opening match of the series on Saturday (21 January) and edged Chile (WR: 19) 2- 1 the following day. However, China dominated play against the South Africans in the second match that was played on Wednesday (Jan 25) en route to a 5-2 victory.
China and South Africa ended the first half with a 1-1 score but the Chinese led 3-2 at the end of the third quarter against Sheldon Rostron’s team. China’s goals were scored by Bingfeng Gu, Lihua Goa, Xiaoxue Zhang, Xiaomei Sun and Ming Xiao Song whilst Candice Manuel and Sulette Damons replied for the host.
The South African women’s team got off in the series with a 3-0 victory against Chile and it was also a big milestone day for Lillan du Plessis who played in her 100th match for South Africa against China.
The Chinese return to the pitch this Saturday to face the Chileans again before facing Belgium (WR: 14) on Sunday. The Belgian men and women teams arrived yesterday for the series.
For China, the Cape Town Summer Series is vital part of their build-up to the World Hockey League Semi-finals which will be held in Belgium (June 21-July 2) and South Africa (July 8-23). The World League will be a qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup.
South Africa’s captain, Nicolene Terblance, said: “It is important for the team to hit the right straps. We want to be competitive against China. We have never beaten them and our focus in the next game is to take away a game from the Chinese. But we want to win the series against Belgium and Chile and I believe we can do that.”
In the men’s series, the host lost 6-2 against the Netherlands in the first match last Saturday and 7-1 in the second match on Wednesday. Tim Drummond scored from a penalty corner for the South Africans but the Dutch struck back with goals from Milan van Baal (2), Rik van Kan, Bjorn Kellerman, Mirco Pruijser and Bram van Groesen (2).